Tucker Carlson claimed "the Obamas do not sleep in the same bed, Mrs. Obama is saying"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Tucker Carlson quoted Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), from a recent interview with Glamour, saying of her husband and children: "We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him." But Glamour left out a key word from Michelle Obama's quote; she had said, "They come in my bed, and if Dad isn't there ..." -- the addition of "if" turning her remark into a conditional statement that her children come into bed "if Dad isn't there." But Carlson went beyond Glamour's original error, asserting, based solely on the inaccurate quote, that "the Obamas do not sleep in the same bed, Mrs. Obama is saying."

On the September 6 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson quoted Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), from a recent interview with Glamour as saying of her husband and children: "We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him." Glamour left out a key word from Michelle Obama's quote; she had said, "They come in my bed, and if Dad isn't there ..." -- the addition of "if" turning her remark into a conditional statement that her children come into bed "if Dad isn't there." But Carlson went beyond Glamour's original error, asserting, based solely on the inaccurate quote, that "the Obamas do not sleep in the same bed, Mrs. Obama is saying." Later in the program, Carlson reported that he "just received a call from the Obama campaign taking issue" with his claim that Michelle Obama said "the Obamas do not sleep in the same bed." Carlson claimed to "know nothing about the Obama's bedroom habits beyond what Michelle Obama has told the rest of us," and reread the excerpt from the interview adding: "I don't know anything she hasn't told me. So if there's more they want to tell us about their bedroom habits, this is the show to tell us on."

Even after Glamour edited the posted transcript, CNN's Political Ticker blog posted the inaccurate version of Michelle Obama's quote in a September 7 entry, despite linking to the updated Glamour transcript:

In an interview with Glamour Magazine, Ms. Obama details her two girls' morning ritual, a time, she says, when her husband Barack is often "snore-y and stinky."

"We have this ritual in the morning," Michelle Obama told Glamour. "They come in my bed, and Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him."

Michelle Obama's statement, as it originally appeared, was cited by several blogs, including a September 6 entry to The New York Times' The Caucus by reporter Katharine Q. Seelye. Seelye's post was updated on September 7 to note Glamour's update to the interview transcript:

Update: Glamour has updated its Web site now with a fuller quote from Mrs. Obama, and here's a complete transcript of the passage:

Q: Speaking of your girls, what do you think they think of Mommy? How do they think of you?

Mrs. Obama: You know my hope in my gut is that I am just Mommy. I don't think this part registers to them. I mean so much of our relationship is based on our world at home. It's getting up _ you know we have this ritual in the morning. We get up and they want ten more minutes so they can come in my bed and if Dad isn't there _ because he is too snore-y and stinky, they don't want ever to get in the bed with him _ but we cuddle up and we talk. We've talked about everything from the boy that one daughter doesn't particularly like in school to what is a period to _

Q: And they are five and eight?

Mrs. Obama: They are six and nine. To the big topic in the morning is, when we get a dog, what kind of dog?

From Michelle Obama's interview with Glamour, as it currently appears on the magazine's website:

LEE: What do your girls think of you?

OBAMA: My hope and my gut is that I am just Mommy. We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and if Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him. But we cuddle up and we talk about everything from what is a period to the big topic of when we get a dog: what kind?

From the September 6 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

CARLSON: Time for a check of the Obameter, and there is fresh activity. First, an aide close to Obama says that Oprah Winfrey may take a visible role in that campaign, possibly as a surrogate of sorts. Winfrey hosts her fundraiser for the campaign Saturday night in California. The other development comes from Michelle Obama, who again spoke plainly about her husband to Glamour magazine. Referring to their daughters she said this, quote: "We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him. But we cuddle up and we talk about everything from what is a period to the big topic of when we get a dog: what kind?"

That's what she said. Did you want to know that? Well, you do now, and so does everyone else. Joining us again, former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and senior editor of Newsweek Jonathan Alter. Jonathan Alter -- the Obamas do not sleep in the same bed, Mrs. Obama is saying. Why is that my business? Why is she talking about this?

[...]

CARLSON: Welcome back. We just received a call from the Obama campaign during the course of our show taking issue with something I said a minute ago. It appeared to me, I said, that Michelle Obama was saying she and her husband don't share the same bed. Just to be clear, I know nothing about the Obamas bedroom habits beyond what Michelle Obama has told the rest of us. So, to be clear, let's reread what Michelle Obama said about the subject. Quote, "We have this ritual in the morning. They come into my bed" -- the children -- "and Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him." Etcetera, etcetera. I don't know anything she hasn't told me. So if there's more they want to tell us about their bedroom habits, this is the show to tell us on.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC, The New York Times
Person
Tucker Carlson
Show/Publication
Tucker
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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